Higher Incidence of Eczema Among Nurses

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Courtesy of www.skinconfessions.com

Author: Suhein Beck
Jan 26, 2016

According to PubMed.gov Nurses have been identified as high as :
70% suffering from eczema-type symptoms specifically hand dermatitis
46% had open-sores with skin lesions
1 in 4 Medical Practitioners were allergic to latex gloves

With the continued increase usage of Anti-Bacterial Soaps, there’s a price to be paid. Unfortunately, it means these nurses develop the painful, and sometimes debilitating symptoms of Eczema and begin a vicious cycle of medications that suppress their immune systems.

They are more at risk because once the skin membrane dries, cracks and opens up, they are more susceptible to bacteria and infections creeping in than anyone else on the front lines.

With their immune systems compromised, we all suffer. An alternative is to switch back to warm water and soap. The FDA has already published their own concerns and continued observance of Anti-Bacterial Soap Studies which prove no actual benefit of one system over another. It falls back on efficiency of time management that hospitals push to their staff.

However the long-term cost of substituting a nurse for extended sick time off and eventually replacing due to disability will cost more in money and quality of care for patients. The vicious cycle extends and backfires on all of us.

Natural cleansing alternatives DO exist! Tea Tree oil, Oregano Oil combined with certain Aloe Vera gels can be adjusted to sub in, however, once Contact dermatitis sets in – even the most gentle, natural cleansers – even JUST WATER become painful to the slightest exposure. There is a point of no return and once that threshold is reached it can take months and years of re-training skin to strengthen its own membrane and pH rebalancing mechanisms.

Using natural emollients such as ELAJ Eczema Therapy has shown to temporarily help decrease overall symptoms of Eczema. Especially when applied before, during and after a shift.

Let the healing begin…

SKIN by Rae Morris

by Suhein Beck
​Jan 

This is my song dedication to all you Warriors out there dealing with Eczema, Psoriasis, Keratosis or TSW (Topical Steroid Withdrawal) or RSS (Red Skin Syndrome) or Rosacea and/or Steroid Induced Rosacea. 

This young, but wise far beyond her years artist, Rae Morris has unknowingly created an anthem to this lonely hearts club of those suffering from serious skin conditions. With haunting images, lonely lyrics and enchanting modern dance, she captures their emotional struggles that echo into empty corridors. Time spills over as they wait patiently for a cure, a response, some kind of acknowledgement on cold, hard steps. 

What could be more haunting than needing to liberate yourself from your own skin?
Perhaps a self-imposed statuesque of stillness to stop the maddening itching and resulting scars?
Or fighting a cause knowing the end result falls on deaf ears? 

NO! This is just the beginning. This is YOUR FIGHT SONG! 

Suhein Beck
www.SkinConfessions.com

​                       ​            SKIN
                          by Rae Morris
 
Deep in the core of a broken one,
I spy the light of a wounded sun,
That keeps you from drowning, keeps you from drowning.
 
Way beneath the weak surface of it all,
I spy a girl only three feet tall,
That keeps me from drowning, she keeps me from drowning – in it all…
 
With the will to stay, and the will to stand still.
 
We break the rules and listen to our own skin,
With a visible scar in a broken side car,
We break the rules and listen to our own skin,
We break our hearts and pretty much everything.
 
After the dark and endless wars,
I realize that I’m fighting a cause,
That ends with us drowning, ends with us drowning – in it all.
 
With the will to stay and the will to stand still…
 
We break the rules and listen to our own skin,
With a visible scar in a broken side car,
We break the rules and listen to our own skin,
We break our hearts and pretty much everything…
 
With the same old star and the same old sun,
Built to keep us both in the same old love,
When the present tense meets the present time,
Built to keep our worlds in line, in the same old love, in the same old love, same old love…
 
We break the rules and listen to our own skin,
With a visible scar in a broken side car,
We break the rules and listen to our own skin,
We break our hearts and pretty much everything…

Where Skin Confessions started?

by Suhein Beck
​Jan 25, 2016

PictureSuhein Beck with Customers at COD Street Fair over 6 years!

To be exact, Skin Confessions began the winter of 2009 in a classy little street fair in the Palm Springs Desert area of California.  Every weekend from Oct-May brought in a flood of outdoor shoppers from Canada and especially Retired Snowbirds from colder regions. A typical weekend tempted 10,000-15,000 sunshine-loving customers walking and flaunting around taking selfies in flip-flops in December while their friends at home suffered -15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit! 

In my little tent selling ELAJ Eczema Therapy, I would speed-talk to 100-200 people in 7-8 hours! Over 6 years worth of weekends, I was lucky enough to listen to thousands of people from all over the world desperate to share their story of skin frustrations.

Then people started emailing me asking if I knew of others going through their unique skin phenomenon of eczema turning into psoriasis or strange lip infections or allergic skin reactions to medications. I became a match-maker sending one desperate mother to another hoping that together they’d figure out answers to their own questions. They’d both email me back thanking me for connecting them together and updating me with their child’s progress. It was like they just needed a support network and I was the middle-man. 

Time and again, there were echoes of similarities to all their stories. There was always a frustration with why traditional medicine did not work for them individually. They legitimately were afraid of using steroids in increasing dosages, especially on their babies! They questioned why do flare ups keep coming back with a vengeance when they would stop topical steroids suddenly? They were losing trust in the medical system that did not have answers or remedies.

Complete strangers sharing their most intimate fears and frustrations with me became a normal part of my weekends along with wearing waterproof mascara for the heartbreaker stories!  I became their Go-TO person, yet I didn’t have the answers. I was just the messenger relaying stories of what I had heard in this impromptu Skin Confessions Network that started in my booth. Each week’s confessions inspired me to research more – so much so – that I still am fascinated, possibly obsessed with finding answers until today.

…And here we are – still sharing, caring and learning from each other. I’m still here listening. Just not in my booth anymore. This blog is my 24/7 Booth now. Welcome to Skin Confessions! 


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Typical busy day of Suhein Beck discussing Skin Topics

Common Psychological Nervous Tics of Eczema

Can you be addicted to scratching, picking and re-scabbing wounds?

Author: Suhein Beck
Jan 25, 2016

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Spinner Rings are thought to be part of Tibetan meditational tradition to reduce anxiety.
A woman came into my ELAJ Booth with her mother.  The mother was the one asking if ELAJ would help her daughter’s extremely dry, eczema on her hands. The 20-something year old daughter was quite shy and nervous while picking at the scabs on her hands and re-opening unhealed wounds right in front of my eyes. 

Beyond the eczema, I opened the discussion to discover more about the younger woman.  She definitely had high-anxiety, had recently become unemployed as a result of her constant habit, also known as a nervous tic, of picking and bleeding her wounds.  The question would be – which came first – the eczema or the nervous disorder? But I knew that answer was a lost cause. 

But I did know one thing. I knew in this case, ELAJ would help. It would take a few weeks, but eventually the deep moisturisation would not provide anything for the woman to pick at.  It was obvious they were concerned with the price and affording ELAJ so the mother offered to pay while the daughter became more anxious, so I just couldn’t let that happen – so I gave her the jar for free on 3 conditions. 

1. Apply ELAJ 3 x per day during the first 2 weeks. 

2. Buy a Spinner Ring.  A Spinner ring is a 2-part ring with one outer ring that spins on a second larger base that stays in one place on the finger. The spinner ring is believed to come from ancient Tibetan meditation traditions and is similar to “worry beads” in that they are supposed to give people with anxiety something to do, rather than pick and itch at their dry, eczema skin!

3. Take a ZUMBA Class.   I had just recently discovered ZUMBA and found it to be an amazing outlet of stress and it gave me such a “high” that I figured this just might be a random curveball that may offer this young woman a place to extinguish some level of anxious energy in a healthier way. 

As silly and random as those ideas sounded to all of us at the time, the universe answered in even more random surprise results! A few months later the mother stopped in and purchased a jar of ELAJ. She reminded me who her daughter was and that she bought, not only one spinner ring, but two!  That never even occurred to me! She definitely one-upped me on that and apparently she had healed her hands with ELAJ and slowly transferred her anxiety to the spinner rings on each hand – when one got tired – she’d use the other!

The clincher here was the ZUMBA class….Did she or didn’t she?  Yes! She did and LOVED IT!  Now that’s a sight I would have paid to see. Her mother expressed her gratitude and I responded, “I’m a mom too and we all know it takes a village…”

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Worry Beads are said to have originated from Greek & Cypriot Culture accompanying prayer rituals.

Confessions of a SUGAR Addict

by Suhein Beck
​Jan 25, 2016

Picture“…you do NOT want to know what I did for a Klondike Bar!”

Quitting SUGAR without a Criminal Record. 
Can it be done?

“…but Your Honor, my client committed these crimes under the influence of a most powerful drug that she did not know was making her do these awful things at the time of …”

The fantasy of excuses was never ending while I was in that dark never ending tunnel of  quitting SUGAR. The fact that I was able to quit without a criminal record of committing violent crimes is an accomplishment I hope will be recognized in my eulogy.

The truth is…I grew up in a 7/Eleven in Los Angeles, California. No come to think of it, my earliest memories were serving old-fashioned root-beer ice cream floats with candy sprinkles when I was four years old  at our family Village Fountain Restaurant in New Jersey. I could barely reach the counter, but for the sake of SUGAR and seeing how SUGAR brought pure joy to so many, I may have been the youngest SUGAR Pusher from East to West Coast! I started young in this business and I had no shame…

So when someone with severe Eczema or Auto-Immune Diseases or Inflammation-Type Conditions stands in front of me saying they can’t fathom quitting SUGAR, we instantly bond when I confess my Before & After life with quitting SUGAR. I was the Mafia Boss and everyone in my family including myself worked to support this weapon of mass destruction. From Snickers to Baklava dripping in SUGAR syrup, our house and our family businesses were the international headquarters of SUGAR addicts welcoming anyone that needed a fix.

“…so the truth Your Honor and nothing but the truth?
This SUGAR Detox has taken me about 7 years and I’m still working through it…
and doing this community service of spreading the word is really helping me stay on track…”

Today – I’m about 93% SUGAR-FREE. That means No Processed SUGAR, little or no white bread, rice or pasta and no artificial sweeteners. The last thing to go is my Hazelnut Latte and I’m hanging on to this one for dear life.  I’m almost ready to let this go in 2016. 

“…and to the Jury of my Peers, please don’t judge me – yes it’s taken me longer, but remember –
 I grew up in candy stores – don’t I deserve more leniency, considering where I come from?”

Here’s how to:
QUIT SUGAR WITHOUT A CRIMINAL RECORD:
1.Get rid of the Evidence – and do it on garbage day so you don’t go back out to the trash bin and salvage those beloved candy bars back at midnight like I did.

2. Announce your new life without “The S Drug”. You need to confess openly and gain support from all loved ones. Say it. Say it LOUD!

3. Get new friends – or isolate yourself from the accomplices that are SUGAR Pushers – you know who they are. Right now you are your own metaphorical Moses on the Mountain alone for 40 days until you come down with your own spiritual strength.

4. DO THE TIME – there’s no getting around it. It’s hard time in physical/mental JAIL of withdrawal – expect one week of hell and one month of intensive physical pain – from headaches to shakes to emotional bankruptcy. Expect the worst. It really is that bad. There’s no Sugar-Coating this (sorry)!

5. Daily Brainwash your mind with SUGAR Facts. Watch sweet documentaries like these:
SUGAR: The Bitter Truth
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

60 Minutes : Is Sugar Toxic? 
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

The Conversation: Here’s What Happens To Your Brain When You Give Up Sugar
http://theconversation.com/heres-what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-give-up-sugar-for-lent

6. Bait and Switch SUGAR urges with dates, figs, fruits, berries. Just as you are about to throw a 2 year old toddler-style tantrum over tiramisu, pull out a ziplock baggy of figs or dates which have enough sweetness and glorious minerals that will trick your brain into a magician’s slight of hand to get you through the insanity.

7. Obsess over something new and fascinating – get into that one thing on your bucket list that you’ve always wanted to do. Underwater basket weaving? No one needs to know – this is all yours and it’s a private secret crutch. My crutch was NETFLIX! But stay away from Breaking Bad! You don’t need that analogy of good gone bad – you want to go the other direction. Stick to health documentaries – especially before Thanksgiving and Christmas!

8. Forgive yourself. You will fail. The sheer humiliation will paralyze you. Done that, been there Babe – dust yourself off – you have 3 days to mourn and bury the body of evidence again. Watch the documentaries again and you’ll bounce back. We are all cowards and die a few times during this.

9. Stage it. Eliminate the worst Mafia Boss Leader first. Soda. Then his right-hand man the Donut Delivery Man at office meetings. Chocolate, oh it hurts me writing this even now after all these years. As if I’m betraying my first love, yes chocolate stashes in my glove compartment and office desk supplies of Snickers – my little forbidden affairs stashed away in hidden rendezvous spots only we knew – break away on a rainy day my friend – for some reason that’s easier and no one can see the tears.

10. Sobriety is an every day thing. I have to constantly check my SUGAR Criminal Records and Annual Credit (Health) Score. I think I’ve redeemed my credit score over the years and I pay hypocritical penalties for carelessness now and then, but now that I’ve given up my beloved flavored coffee creamers, my last sin I held onto for dear life – I think I may finally be free.

“…but I am only human and that’s my last excuse your honor.”


HairStylists are at High Risk of Getting Eczema

​72% of Hairdressers test positive for Work-Related Allergy / Contact dermatitis.
 
One of the highest percentages of work related jobs that end up with Eczema-Type Symptoms are our beloved hairdressers. Go figure! How many chemicals are they exposed to every hour, every shift, every day?

When Mama (and Hairdressers) Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!

by Suhein Beck
Jan 25, 2016

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Suhein Beck, ELAJ Founder/CEO at International Salon & Spa Expo in Long Beach, California in 2010

Diagnosed with Eczema! Now what?

by Suhein Beck
​Jan 25, 2016

Simplified Plan Of Action on dealing with Eczema.

From today on its a journey and a process. Welcome to the world of No Rhyme or Reason! What works for one person can definitely trigger flareups for another. So take it slow, steady and methodical. Keep a journal and document your personal ups and downs along with what is happening in your life and each modification step by step. Your doctor will appreciate these details!

Concentrate on two things.
The Process of Elimination of toxins and potential triggers both External and Internal.
The Process of Introduction of healthier alternatives both Internally and Externally.

First priority is to start with eliminating the obvious that touches the skin and could be irritants. Start with soaps, detergents and antibacterial soaps containing alcohol and/or Triclosan. Simple changes in fabrics and jewelry make a difference too. There are research studies that show NICKEL is a major Eczema trigger and is found in most jewelry and belt buckles. Cosmetics and personal care products are a major culprit because they are a collective group of chemicals that make it difficult to distinguish which one is the true suspect.

Meanwhile on the Introduction side, immediately introduce immune boosting foods, vitamins and minerals. Get your blood work done. Consult with an Integrative or Natural Health Practitioner to consider what options are most relevant to your needs. A major contributor to gut health will be probiotics, especially if your immune system has been compromised by taking antibiotics within the least year. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, Korean Kimchi, Kombucha tea, or the classic natural non-sweetened yogurt will help replenish the good bacteria necessary to rebalance the immune system starting with the gut. Anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, turmeric with some good quality coconut oils and cayenne and black pepper will also help jumpstart the immune system.

Third will be a longer process of Elimination that takes time. Top of the list is to eliminate all processed sugar, white flour, rice, pasta, bread. Another burden to the liver is alcohol and should also be eliminated. This can be done gradually over time to help re-train the taste buds to no longer desire sweets. As you begin to eliminate these nutrition-deprived foods from your diet, the colon will ease up its burden and start to work more efficiently in excreting backed up feces and sediment.

The fourth quadrant represents discovering what works on your skin naturally. Less is more in this category and should be done carefully. Skin products with ingredients that are natural and singular will help you isolate what works and does not. Intensive Emollients such as ELAJ Eczema Therapy offers a natural alternative to the synthetic ingredients of many eczema products on the market today and without the side effects of hydrocortisone / topical steroid therapies. Soaking in certain mineral salt baths such as ELAJ DEAD SEA SALTS or oatmeal can alleviate skin distress. Explore how essential oils in a vaporizer can alter a bio-physical inner calm and relax your muscular reactions immediately.

The center point in all this is of course, is stress. Don’t discount the impact of stress on your immune system. The minute you suspect stress triggers in your life at work, family, school, you’ve got to find your refuge and pull back into protective mode. Whether in the form of outdoor activities or exercise or yoga or listening to music or good ol’ NETFLIX marathons to veg out in bed and disconnect from the world, there has to be an outlet.

Stop obsessing over your skin. Shift focus from your skin inwards. The more you add natural immune-boosting habits to your life, the sooner you’ll start to see your skin become more manageable.

Let the healing begin…

No Hope for Eczema and Psoriasis ?

by Suhein Beck
​Jan 22, 2016

The Game-Changer Skin Confession

Out of all the confessions, there is one that stands out and will never be forgotten. This one set the standard for all confessions to fall under. It was the ultimate game-changer for me.

Sunday afternoon at the Palm Desert Streetfair and a man walks by my booth wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt. His red, patches of inflamed skin covering 60% surface area of what was exposed.

I swung around my table and barely caught up to him among the crowds. I discreetly asked him to step into my booth, I had something for him. He followed me back in and when I showed him my cream, he flatly said, “I’m not interested.”

I insisted and as he turned away, I blurted, “Look – I’ll even give it to you for free!” His eyes shot back how insulted he was. I expected the worst from his voice as he retorted loudly, “It’s NOT THE MONEY!” And then two steps back closer to me and his voice melted into the words that haunt me until today, “I just don’t want to live with hope…because there is no hope – even my doctor said there is no cure.”

No other words. His eyes said everything. Then in a private exchange of desperation he offered his skin confession without a sound. He lifted his shirt and revealed his entire stomach and side covered in one huge patch of fire-red plaque psoriasis.

Two strangers sharing a most unusual intimate exchange of human vulnerability. Yet he wasn’t weak – he was defiant to not fall prey to another false hope, false cure with disappointing results. I was the weak one. I lost my command of language as I realized that Cancer and AIDS patients were allowed to have hope, encouraged to overcome the impossible odds and rise to hero survivor roles and wear pink ribbons glorifying their battles..

But Eczema and Psoriasis sufferers have been told flat out that there is no cure and they don’t know the cause of these mysterious auto-immune diseases and they are at the mercy of, at best, managing symptoms, but not the cause of the disease. That was the confession that changed everything for me.

A two hour commute home that day and I cried the majority way home. That’s when I realized, I can never give false hope to anyone regarding my product, Elaj. That set the tone of every conversation with every person that I’ve ever dealt with and I’m proud to say, I never tried to sell my product – but rather to listen to each customer and to reciprocate an open, honest exchange of information.

That was truly my first Skin Confession in 2009. It still remains the most powerful.

FDA Does Not Regulate Cosmetics!   Really?

Author: Suhein Beck
​Jan 22, 2016

The Day The Music Died…

You know that moment when the bubble bursts? When your romantic ideals melt into a muddy puddle and you have no choice but to step over it? For me that day was when I discovered the cosmetic industry is unregulated for the most part in the United States.

I’ve traveled the world and am very aware that until today everyone wants products MADE IN USA. So of course growing up with that innate idea that all USA products are the best, most consumer protected and the most regulated for quality, I could not believe this perfect bubble was not at all, perfect.

When I was ready to take ELAJ to the market originally in 2009 as just a moisturizing emollient, I kept looking for where do I turn in samples of ELAJ for testing and approval? I found consultants that help small companies get to market and met with them. I didn’t believe them when they told me I didn’t need to do anything. I scoured the FDA website and every other government agency. I called other cosmetic companies. The answer was always the same.

There is no regulation for cosmetics other than labeling requirements that still are not officially pre-approved by any entity. I even discovered that suspicious “proprietary ingredients” can hide under “Fragrance”, and not be disclosed. I was in denial and couldn’t get over these overwhelming facts. How can there not be any safety or quality controls? Really?? So I can set up a booth at any public market and wholesale my products at boutique spa / salon and retail stores and actually sell to customers and there’s no one to ask me a single question? Not even insurance – nothing was required?!?

Ha – nice try! I was convinced this was a trick question on some test and someone somewhere will pop up and demand to see “my papers” like the health department doing random inspections to restaurants. NO I was not falling for this. So I voluntarily took my formula to a third party independent laboratory.  They have hundreds of different and expensive tests. I didn’t even know which test I wanted, because all I wanted was comfort knowing I did something, just in case.

I also met with a professional manufacturing consultant, Dr. Bob Sauté who started Avon’s research lab 40 years ago to test my formula and give me his analysis. He was on the verge of retirement and after he analyzed ELAJ, he slid the jar back across the table to me and said, “your grandfather knew what he was doing, so enough of this, go out and take it to the world.” It was as if he sensed my hesitation and fear of selling in the real world. He then told me his frustration with another famous “Dr.” who also had him analyze a new acne medication in a tube and how it was pure crap and crystallized prematurely in the tube and Dr. Bob spared nothing and told him so. But that Dr. took it to the market despite Dr. Bob’s plea not to – and yet that Dr. went on to make multi-millions!

So finally I decided on the bacteria/preservative test and some other stability tests which were far more expensive than I could afford at the time, a whopping $1,300. The bacteria/preservative test was nerve racking with much sleep lost over it. They took the formula and injected the most dangerous, common bacteria, molds, fungi and then monitor at 7, 14, and 28 day intervals to measure the microbial colony growth count.

I always believed in my ingredients as self-preserving multi-taskers that have their own superpowers and YES they came through with flying colors! But it was very anti-climactic. I filed those test results in an old cabinet and they’ve not seen the light of day till now. But the moral of the story here is NOT GOOD. Not once, ever in 6 years did the health department or anyone else ever question me. What if I was not me, and I was someone else who didn’t care? And what if I went from one streetfair market to another from coast to coast where those consumers could not track me? It does happen. I’ve witnessed it!

The history of cosmetics prove the FDA was not regulating personal care products as closely as we’d like to think they did. From lead in lipstick to arsenic in face powder, until recently they were in our products and quite possibly creating the topical skin triggers that we now know as Contact dermatitis and allergies. It really is up to us to self-police our products and what we put into our bodies.

Caramel Confessions  – Does Sugar Trigger Eczema?

Author: Suhein Beck
​Jan 19, 2016

Sugar Triggers Eczema?

One Saturday afternoon a mother and 16 year old girl walked into my booth at the Palm Desert Streetfair and asked the typical questions about Eczema and how/ if my ELAJ creme would work. She showed me her inner arms and how red, inflamed they were.

Instead of answering her question and making a quick sale, I pointed at her Venti Triple Caramel Whipped Delight. She thought I wanted to trade my creme for her drink! Then I stepped out of my “Salesperson Shoes” and back into my notorious Mama Bear persona so I could speak up and give her my TOP 10 TIPS for Eczema.

The #1 NON – Negotiable Tip was to give up that all-time favorite drug – SUGAR! I gave her the low-down on sugar, it’s effects on burdening the liver and immune system and how that could be effecting her Eczema Triggers! Remember this was a 16 year old on an easy, breezy Saturday afternoon with PRIME-time shopping waiting all around us, yet she stayed and seemed to actually be listening to me rant and rave. They politely thanked me and went on their way.

Just before closing that day, Caramel Girl rushed back into my booth, but now with a large cup of ice water with lemon slices and wanted to show me that she did listen and that she made the decision to start an elimination diet beginning with SUGAR immediately! She asked me to email her the other 9 Tips!

One year later Lemon Water Girl came back to my booth beaming with joy and gratitude! She said changing her diet and eliminating sugar was the hardest thing to do, especially at school, but she would never go back to that life of living with fear that Eczema would take over her life. She did follow 7 of the other tips and was still working on the last 3, but she felt just the SUGAR alone was a huge breakthrough for her and saw the difference within 3 months.

She told me that severe Eczema AND Diabetes runs in her family and when I had mentioned SUGAR, she pictured those in her family and their eating habits and knew there was a connection. So it was a no-brainer for her to finally see the light only AFTER a complete stranger connected the dots for her!

Me? Happy Dancing all the way home that day!